How to Handle Common Interview Questions
Monster Contributing Writer Ian Christie
Give me an example of a time when you had to think out of the box.
Intent: This is code for asking about your innovativeness, creativity and initiative. Interviewers want to learn about not only a specific creative idea but also how you came up with it and, more importantly, what you did with that insight.
Context: This is another behavioral question, and the example you select is critical. It should be relevant to the job you’re interviewing for, and your impact in the story should be significant.
Response: Tell interviewers how you came up with a creative solution to a customer problem, improved an internal process or made a sale via an innovative strategy.
What negative thing would your last boss say about you?
Intent: This is another way of asking about your weaknesses.
Context: A good approach is to discuss weaknesses you can develop into strengths. However, do not say you work too hard or are a perfectionist. These answers are tired and transparent. Come up with something visible to a past boss that was perhaps mentioned in your performance reviews as a developmental area.
Response: “I don’t think she would have called it negative, but she identified that I needed to work on being more dynamic in my presentation skills. I have sought out practice opportunities and joined Toastmasters. I have seen some real improvement.”
What can you do for us that other candidates can’t?
Intent: Some interview questions are more important than others. This is one of them. It’s another way of asking, “Why should we hire you?”
Context: There are two nuances to this question. The first is asking you to compare yourself to other candidates — usually a difficult if not impossible task. More importantly, the interviewer is asking you to articulate why you are special. Your response should sum up your main selling points, related specifically to the job requirements.
Response: Consider what you have to offer: past experience directly related to the job; specialized knowledge; relevant situational expertise and experience (growth, change, turnaround, startup); skills; networks; demonstrated commitment and enthusiasm for the business or your profession; future potential.
Create a list of four to six categories of reasons that best support and summarize your candidacy, and put them in logical order, along with supporting evidence for each reason. Most points should be backed up with follow-up information.
Read the original article Common Interview Questions on Monster.com.